Recently I viewed an interview with author and political pundit David Brooks. During this interview, he was reflecting on a shift in his thinking when it came to his priorities in life. He termed this new way of thinking as his “second mountain.”
In many ways, many of us who have lost a spouse or partner are facing our own version of the second mountain. Very few of us come out of this sophisticated experience, the same as before experiencing our loss. While I may not term my emergence as my own second mountain, I may look at it as Life 2.0. Upon reflecting upon Life 2.0, I often break down my thoughts in the simplest of terms. To share a few ideas in this article, I will approach this in two simple words, what I want in my life and what I feel I need in my life.
Recently I have started the process of determining if I would like to pursue a new relationship. In beginning to unpack my thoughts, I begin as I often do with what I don’t want. The first aspect of any new relationship I may pursue is that it will have to be different than my prior one. I will not be seeking another version of my wife, Robyn! One of the many truths that I have come to realize in the last four-plus years is that I don’t have the energy to engage in Robyn 2.0 for sure! I am very comfortable with the wonderful memories that I had over the twenty-two plus years we spent together, but to try to duplicate our relationship would be an ill-advised pursuit. Now there are qualities of character that are just a part of my belief system when it comes to relationships. However, a “do over” will not be necessary!
Like so many, I would love to have someone to experience new adventures with, travel with and just simply share my thoughts and ideas with. I would love to have a person in my life that you can share the good news at the end of the day with as well as add value to their life in return. At this stage of my life, the title is not as important as the quality of the relationship. In many ways, this could be summed up in one simple word, companionship.
Another thing that I have found more important in my life is the pursuit of knowledge. I have long enjoyed the challenge of learning new things. Right now, however, I don’t think that school is in my plans. But challenging pursuits such as developing a blog, starting a podcast, mentoring others, and assisting with the development of others are very appealing to me.
On the spiritual side, coming to grip with the blessings and challenges in my life give me great comfort. I believe these feelings were born out of the fight to help my wife get better, only to lose the battle to the all too familiar foe called death. But it was participating in the dignity of the fight that gives me a certain measure of peace. I never served in the military so I don’t know if this emulates the feelings a soldier may have after their time of service is completed or not. I have found peace to be a comforting place to reside on the other side of imperfection. Resigned to realizing that I am not without my flaws, it gives me a reason to improve my station in life.
As it relates to my needs, I have become more keenly aware of the need to take care of my health. As I get older, the desire to maintain both my physical and mental vitality has become more important than ever before. I am more keenly aware of the precious nature of time than at any time in my life. This change has led to the last two “great needs” in my life, enjoying the accomplishments of family and friends as well as being a good steward over my resources.
Recently I have found myself being more aware of the accomplishments of others close to me. I have always been very happy with the success of others. Many times, I used to take the position of “of course” they are going to be successful. Lately, however, I find myself picking up the phone and personally congratulating others, hosting celebration lunches and other small ways of acknowledging the favor of others. In days gone by, we may have termed this as taking time to smell the roses!
Finally, I try to be a good steward over my resources. In my life, resources are more than just money. Resources are how you utilize your talent, experiences, and knowledge as well. Writing the book The First 365 in many ways was being a good steward to me. This is a part of myself that I am so grateful to be exploring.
While David Brooks referred to his pursuit as the Second Mountain, and I call it Life 2.0, what would you call this phase of your life. As always, I welcome the opportunity to hear what you have to say. Until we share again, take care.
Terrell Whitener is an author, motivational speaker, and coach. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell is the author of The First 365, Learning to Live After Loss. Terrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn @terrellwhitener or through the Widowers Support Network.